Current Child Count

  • HOGAR DE AMOR I: 11 babies
  • HOGAR DE AMOR II: 6 boys
  • HOGAR DE AMOR III: 8 girls

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

six weeks!

Okay so they turned six weeks yesterday and I only have one picture because the craziness around here continues (and at the bridge: a girl injured her arm by slipping on the muddy riverbank)...

Look at all that chubbiness!!! They have grown so much. I've wanted to compare pictures from a couple weeks ago....eventually I'll have time, right?! Theoretically, since we made the plunge yesterday afternoon to 3 hour feedings versus just 2 hours, we should have more time, but the medication schedule is nuts now so it just seems busier.

Master Triplet Schedule, Version 4!

Here's what they weighed a couple days ago:

Valentina: 5 pounds, 14 ounces
Victoria: 5 pounds, 4 1/2 ounces
Nataly: 5 pounds, 7 ounces

I don't know if their rapid weight gain is normal, but our other micro preemie took MONTHS to get up to 6 pounds, although she has FAS so that could definitely affect things.

Pray for our "nurse Savannah" who is really working hard to take care of Victoria's round-the-clock med needs, via IV.

And right NOW I need to go pick up Gabriel from the hospital, because he's been released, yeah!! I was supposed to pick up our HIV child and get her/the tia to the doctor because she coughed all night, and we need to decide who goes on stronger meds at the Baby Home (it's so hard when they are passing something around!!), but will just have to figure all that out as I go... Till later!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

when it rains, it pours...

The past few days have been nuts. The last week of the month is my fullest as far as office work goes, but sometimes...seems like all the time just doesn't cooperate with me and I have next to zero desk time. It's like, my cell phone is even dying I have so little time in my room to charge it and I use it constantly all day.

Yesterday at one point as I changed April schedules for the fourth time (I'm not kidding, and it's not even April yet!), a tia called from the doctor to say that Gabriel (1 1/2) needed to be admitted with bronchopneumonia, and I had Savannah out with another sick child, there was a visitor here helping with the other two triplets, I needed to go check on Victoria...and I got a call from the bridge asking me to come immediately and help with a couple crisis! And I also needed to find SOMEONE to donate blood ASAP, before Victoria is released and we are charged $100. Savannah wanted to but was getting sick, and the rest of us (office staff/volunteers) have given within the past three months so were not eligible. I actually fall into both categories... I, who never get sick, wore myself out so bad the end of last week that by Saturday night, I had the most acutely painful swollen lymph node under my chin EVER. This has never happened but it continued to get so huge and hard and painful, and I seemed to be running a fever, that I finally mentioned it to Savannah yesterday as she was making a doctor run. She brought us back antibiotics, only they were sulfa based so I had to search for an alternative (which of course had to be expensive, as far as meds here go), but I am sooo grateful for antibiotics right now and at least I feel human again today although I still have the painful easter eggs under my chin.

And then...we haven't even had a baby in the hospital in 1 1/2 years (and that was a jaundiced newborn who went straight from the hospital back to his mother) so it was a shock yesterday to all of a sudden have TWO admitted. I had hoped to keep Gabriel out and care for him at home, but I took one look at him, noticed the labored breathing, and immediately changed my mind. Right now Tia Luz is with him around the clock and Savannah and Elena have stepped in to fill her shoes. I hope to find out today if it's viral or bacterial (unfortunately I'm guessing the latter and that means 7 days in the hospital easy).

When I checked on Victoria last night, she looked wonderful! As we're not allowed to touch her, I started talking to her and she woke up and started crying, oops! I think she hears my voice and immediately thinks "MILK TIME!!!" haha. I took a picture with my cell phone, but alas, due to virus troubles we lost the program I used to download them and haven't had time to find it again. But her color is great, her abdomen is no longer distended, she's off the ventilator, oxygen, and feeding tube, and nothing is growing in the two cultures. Really odd. It seems like it "simply" might have been increasing her milk too quickly after the doctor visit last week and her little system couldn't handle it. I wondered that from the beginning but thought surely not, it must be a bacteria. Interestingly enough, the kids at the bridge (who are huge fans of the triplets by the way, always asking about them) told me they were sure it was too much milk too fast.

Then last night after traversing the city, visiting two hospitals three times, I dealt with the issue at the bridge till exactly midnight. He had run off with their baby and she was obviously upset, so I managed to track him and the baby down and get them together to talk. With this same couple, I had a wonderful meeting just the night before because they had been doing really well together for two whole weeks! Now I had to change my tune completely, which was sad, but I can't keep helping them get together when every Monday (minus the last) they greet me with new cuts, bruises, and gashes due to their Sunday night drinking fights. And they drag their 1 year old son along. Makes them sound like monsters, but this is the sweetest, most caring, likeable guy EVER when he is sane. And even though she is just 16, she is a quiet, calm, good mother (as far as it goes for street mothers)...until she decides she wants to drink the night away and no one can stand in her way. They are quite the pair, really!

It's a terribly complicated situation, as she's now kicked out from her family's house but doesn't want to be with him, because they have this vicious cycle of getting along well for a few days, drinking till the wee hours of the morning and fighting, being mad at each other for anywhere from a day to a week, then one goes looking for the other in the usual hang outs and they are back at it again.... And in the middle of all of this is an adorable 13 month old who cries during their fights and ends up with their blood staining his clothes - not to mention the irregular sleep/eating patterns due to this lifestyle. Last night I had to threaten them with everything so they understand that I will not continue to observe this without stepping in. They listened to me and promised everything, expressing their undying love, devotion, and gratitude for my help......but I'll believe it when I see it. :)

And just because I'm having withdrawal from taking triplet pictures, here are a couple I took for the Canada team with the teddies they brought:

Here's hoping for more triplet pictures soon...!!

PS - Just talked to the triplet's doctor (or one of them, shall I say), and he says we're good to go!! I'm leaving to pick her up right now. :) And now I'm hoping I don't faint at the sight of the bill....

Saturday, March 27, 2010

great news!!

Sorry I haven't gotten to post this until now, but I've been out or with the other two triplets since last night and am EXHAUSTED with a capital E. I can't even remember the last time I've been this worn out, as everything has just caught up to me. So forgive the brief update but I wanted to let everyone know that VICTORIA IS BETTER!!!! She is more active today (so says the doctor, as I wasn't allowed to go back either time I visited) and they will try to take her off the ventilator tomorrow.

We are so, so relieved that she's okay now and that she's continuing to improve! Still, the doctor says she could be in the hospital up to a week longer. That's hard to imagine... It's sad to see her empty spot in the crib and not use her yellow/green clothing. Nights and feedings are just too easy - I mean, you have two hands! Oh and we're also SO GRATEFUL that Valentina and Nataly are showing absolutely no signs of having the same infection as Victoria. Our twins almost always share illnesses, especially when little and if they share the same crib, so this feels like a miracle. :)

Thank you so much for all of the support and prayers! We need all of it as we keep up with hectic full schedules and lots of other babies/children.

Friday, March 26, 2010

prayer for Victoria

Please pray for Triplet #2, Victoria!

Today her health deteriorated very rapidly between the first signs of something wrong at 11am (fever, wouldn't finish milk) and 3pm - very pale, skipped feedings, diarrhea, vomiting, troubled breathing. By 4pm she was being intubated at the best clinic in town as three of us agonized outside the doors of the ER. I could hardly believe it - this is the 3rd time in just 14 months one of my babies has been rushed in with labored breathing. Only, praise the Lord!, this time the story was different as they were able to stabilize her!

Now Victoria is in the NICU on a ventilator. I was finally able to go in and see her for just a few minutes at 9:30. By that point she was semi-conscious and stabilized, and pneumonia has been ruled out although they're running more tests. It appears to be some sort of gastro intestinal infection that threw her into such a tail spin so quickly today.

Obviously, we're now very concerned for her sisters, so please pray for them!! We're watching them very closely and so far they have been perfectly fine which is a HUGE relief. I'm grateful that I'm already on duty with them tonight, because I'd be worrying more than sleeping anyway.

Here's a sweet picture of Victoria with our dear E yesterday:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I know what day it is. Really.

Did anyone notice the "wordless wednesday" post from, um, today? Can anyone say BLONDE. :) Or busy new mother, one or the other. Yesterday was so non-stop the entire day that by the end I was talking to people like it was already Tuesday, thus I guess I thought today was Wednesday. I've reset the post to go up TOMORROW.

Well anyway, there's been lots of big news around here! The young single mother of the triplets came yesterday to visit them, accompanied by social services. It's not looking too promising for the babies to go to her soon, but we tried to encourage her. Only time will tell!

Yesterday morning an adoption rep for Italy came by and handed me the pictures of little girl C's new parents!! Sooo exciting! They will meet her in just 13 days if all goes well. Now to practice mi Italiano...

Today I drove stick shift for the very first time! Since my parents taught me how to drive and I never even took a driving test with a stranger, this was the first time someone else had taught me, none less than our irreplaceable jack-of-all-trades accountant and administrative assistant, David! He's a very brave patient instructor and in an hour I pretty much got the hang of everything. Now to squeeze in practice time! The reason I had the sudden need to learn is that we have a (stick shift) vehicle on loan for the next year. I could really use a bigger vehicle this weekend for some activities with the street kids, but they are a super distracting group so I need to be top notch before I load it up.

Then this afternoon was the triplet's first outing since arriving 12 days ago - to the pediatrician, woo-hoo! There were no surprises there; they are doing just as well as we thought.

Here's a question to any mother reading: currently, they are taking 32 cc of formula every two hours. Now we can go up to 35-40 cc, up to every 3 hours. When and how should we make the change? After just 1 1/2 hours, someone always wakes up and starts complaining, which usually makes the other two start complaining (the future is looking NOISY!!) and at least one is wailing by 10 minutes till as we frantically prepare the bottles. How are we going to stretch them to 3 hours?! I'm considering starting with 2 1/2 hour increments, but honestly I'm not sure it will work because there are so many of us programmed now to feed them every two hours, I'm afraid a feeding will fall through the cracks if we change it to odd every 2 1/2 hours. Besides which, it's my night, and I'd rather not rock the boat until this is very well thought out for the least suffering of all parties! :)

And just thinking out loud...some good, small pacifiers might be a life saver.

Tonight I drove an approximately 15 year old street kid to a home for boys. [Thanks to Savannah for taking a triplet feeding for me so that I had time to do this!] As I stood there chatting with the kids and one of their educators who seems to really love the boys, I just kept marveling WOW, they live in a home! They have a roof over their head, some sort of bed to sleep in, regular meals and a schedule, protection, surrounded by people who care for them - and they go to school! Furthermore, they are not being used by manipulative drug/glue dealers, they do not owe large amounts of money to anyone, they do not crave drugs that slowly kill their minds and bodies, they are not fathers by age 15, no police rough them up, they are not cutting themselves and fighting.

I was just so HAPPY for them! And although not surprising, it was disappointing to have the kid I brought change his mind about staying, saying he already needed glue again and wasn't going to be able to make it. And to have another friend, who checked into the same home just this afternoon, give me a bag of his dirty clothes to put back under the bridge whispering "who knows, maybe I won't be here much longer".

But for those who were "saved" in time, who are able to adapt to life in a wonderful!!

About an hour later as I was still feeling so glad after seeing these boys, many the ages of those I visit on the street, in a happy place, I realized..... This is not my usual reaction!! You know, you go to "orphanages" and feel sorry for the poor kids. This just shows how much I've been changed by working with the street community so intensively this year. THOSE are the "poor children/teens" who are at so much risk for everything in the book, and definitely much abuse and an untimely death. The children in the homes, even bad homes, are blessed! The alternative is just so much worse.

So anyway, a small sampling of the highlights from our week so far, and now I need to finalize the song list for this weekend at church...before the next triplet feeding!

Monday, March 22, 2010

seeing double triple

People keep asking me if the triplets look identical. I've been so focused on their care and the social/legal part of their case, I said I wasn't sure yet, that #1 just seems different than her sisters but probably because she's always been the biggest.

Well after these pictures.......

Okay, I think they are pretty alike!! And I have NO idea who is who in these close ups.

Their little faces are changing so quickly as they grow.

And in this one, starting at 9 o'clock they're in order: Valentina, Victoria, Nataly

Sunday, March 21, 2010

meeting of the multiples

Craziest photo session of the year thus far!!

We got together the Twins E & E...
A little smooching (and yep, that's pee)

...And the Twins L & L, who were my lovely accompanients to church this morning

(Yep, they're fighting over the toy, a new favorite past time)

...and the lovely sleeping beauties

SO glad to be tube free :)

+ Gabriela, our single twin,

for THESE pictures!!

Back row: Twins E & E (27 months), Gabriel (18 months), Twins L & L (22 months today)

Front row: Triplets V, V, N (1 month)

So much cuteness, if I do say so myself!!

Checking out the "hidden" babies (first time we've kept healthy babies isolated from the rest)

Making their escape!!

I ask myself, how did this happen?! A full THIRD of the Baby Home is a multiple! Guess it was just one yes at a time, hehe...

Updated on March 22 with answers to some of the great questions in the comments:

Katrina: the blind butcher who cut the Twin L's hair is around the corner from the Baby idea!! The gestation of the triplets was calculated at 31-32 weeks.

Liz: I hadn't noticed that resemblance, interesting! And after that picture of E, he started screaming and wailing because he realized he'd wet his britches. SIGH.

Heather: We haven't used a tube for feeding in nearly a week! They are doing so well with bottles, even waking up way before feeding time looking for food. Number 2 just made me suffer 45 minutes and I still couldn't get her whole bottle down her, even using the syringe (drop by drop), but that's more and more of a rarity.

And Emily, ohhh if only you could see. :) But in the pictures they do look angelic, don't they?!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

the organization

The triplets have been a fun organizational challenge for us!

Baby stuff x 3!

Our master organization sheet!!

I LOVE this and didn't even do it! Some tia took a moment to separate their clothes, blankets, and accesories according to the colors we use to distinguish each triplet (you get the idea in the pictures below): white and/or blue, yellow or green, and pink!

Friday, March 19, 2010

the room

When we found out late afternoon on March 10 that we were indeed receiving the triplet girls, and would pick up them up at 10am the next morning, we launched into action!

We had to laugh at ourselves. We rarely "prepare" for the arrival of a baby, much less that Rosa, David, Maria, Adelaida, Katrina, Nic, and I would ALL be involved! But we wanted everything to be perfectly clean and ready to go for round-the-clock care.

We chose the warmest room in the house and moved out the 4 cribs already there...which means the other two bedrooms are pretty crowded right now.

This bedroom, our smallest, now holds the two sets of twins plus 4 others!

I also hung this newspaper article on their door:

When I saw this on Friday, March 5, announcing that the girls would go to a home at first (not family members), it was the first time I realized that might indeeded be coming to us.

And here they are!!

Tell me if their room isn't a beautiful haven:

The changing table was a gift from the Holman family (missionaries in Cochabamba) some time back, now being put to very good use!

Their bed, complete with mosquito net (they are vicious right now!). The framed picture over their bed, of a little girl walking, with Psalm 23:1-3 written out, hung over my bed throughout my childhood.

The dresser BEFORE things got messy. :)

Night feedings...

The lamp is another loan from my room, to give a nice light during the 6 "dark" feedings.

the arrival

Thought I'd back up and show pictures of the grand arrival of the babies. It was all such a whirlwind, it just wasn't sinking in what was happening! We didn't even have the length of a pregnancy to prepare for how it was going to be. And even though something like 90 pictures were made that day with my camera (mainly by Katrina and others), why does it seem like there's not enough? Anyway...

Making our get away from the press! Some of those milling around are from social services, or with the godmother's family; they followed us in a taxi because my car was packed.

Tias Maria and Roxana, and the babies' great uncle, sat in the middle of the car, each with a precious bundle. Yours truly had to drive, sigh.

Maria with triplet #3

Roxana with triplet #1

the grandmother with triplet #2

First introductions with the kids...

...and the tias!

Much love!!! I always love introducing new kids to the others, such special, joyful moments.

Taking them to their special room! (more about their room in the next post)

There were so many people the first hour, you could barely move around!

Placing them in their crib for the first time

WOW, there are three!! We just stood and marveled. But not for long, because feeding time comes around very quickly...

Elena cracked me up with her expressions and comments as she tube-fed for the first time.

Let me just say that this was a scary feeling, to hold all three at once. For a moment I felt I could understand in some small way the fears of the mother and why she ran away. I could only say, praise the Lord for so many willing helpers!!! Alone, it would be such a challenge.

I couldn't resist! Here is Baby F on her 6 month birthday, same day the triplets arrived. Isn't she huge?!